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May 12, 2011

Cell phones do affect the brain

The Canadian Charger

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When doctors read about a recent National Institutes of Health cell phone study in the American Medical Association (AMA) journal, and it shows 50 minutes of cell phone radiation increases metabolic activity in the brain, it's a big red flag, according to Dr. Magda Havas, Associate Professor of Environmental & Resource Studies at Trent University.

In response to this study, Health Canada and wireless industry scientists have changed their disinformation from “”non-thermal, non-ionizing microwave radiation has no biological effect on the human body”, to “there are no health effects”. Both of these statements are equally false, Dr. Havas said.

Now, people should feel less complacent in feeling that “everybody's using them, so they must be okay,” and “I've been using them for a long time and I'm okay.”

Doctors have a professional responsibility to tell  their patients that a recent study in a very prestigious medical journal  shows cell phones do affect the brain; and although there is not yet incontrovertible evidence that this effect is harmful, a cell phone should be used with caution and as something that could be dangerous.

And young people should only be using them for emergencies, not for idle chatting.

Judging by the widespread use of cell phones – and often for frivolous reasons – the general public is either unaware or unconcerned about the potential long term harmful effects.

Most people probably haven't given it much thought. So it is not surprising that there is little concern for the potential health risks of exposure to radiation from cell phone towers.

But if a cell phone alters your brain, what is the radiation from a nearby cell phone antenna doing to your body. If you live near a cell phone tower with multiple antennae, your entire body (and not just your head) is going to be exposed to this radiation, and for much longer periods of time than the AMA study mentioned above, Dr. Havas said.

“I certainly would not want to live on the upper floors of a high rise building, in a city like Toronto, facing the CN Tower or facing a nearby building with multiple antennas on the roof. It is unlikely that this long-term, cumulative exposure to microwave radiation is going to be benign. Indeed people who live within 400 meters of these antennas often complain of ill health.”

A study published online, last month by the Hardell group, led by Lennart Hardell MD, PhD, Department of Oncology, Orebro Medical Center, Orebro Sweden documents an increased risk in malignant brain tumours linked to cell phone use.

Their sample size consisted of 1,251 cases and 2,438 controls. The highest risk was documented for astrocytomas, a common type of glioma. The most common type of brain tumour at all ages is a glioma. Gliomas consist of glial cells, which form the supportive tissue of the brain. The two major types of glial tumours are astrocytomas and ependymonas.

Authors report an increased risk for brain tumours of 170% with cell phone use and 80% with cordless phone use after 10-years. In a separate analysis the highest risk for astrocytomas was among those who began using mobile phones before the age of 20.

For this group the risk increased by 390% for cell phones and 290% for cordless phones.

The risk for gliomas and mobile phone use increased with latency time and cumulative hours of use, which suggests a dose-response relation that is a part of the Bradford-Hill criteria for causation. The Bradford – Hill criteria outlines the minimal criteria necessary to establish a causal relationship between two items. This criterion forms the basis of modern epidemiological research, which attempts to establish scientifically valid causal connections between potential disease agents and the many diseases that afflict humankind.

The results of this study do not bode well for the young generation of cell phone users. Unfortunately, this radiation permeates our society and those who use a cell phone are contributing to second-hand radiation such that anyone near cell phone antennae is also exposed to this radiation.

The potential dangers of microwave radiation from cell phone towers are finally being announced to the general public by health authorities. Another red flag to the wireless industry was recently raised by the government of Israel.

The director general of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Att.Alona Sheafer (Karo), and the director general of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Ronni Gamzu, has called on Communications Ministry director general Eden Bar-Tal to meet and discuss the implications of the move toward fourth generation (4G) mobile use, which necessitates the expansion of the mobile infrastructure.

The directors general went on to say that they will oppose any intention to expand the mobile infrastructure to accommodate 4G phones until such time that the need and justification for such a move are examined in depth and in coordination with the two ministries.

As the United States attempts to rollout the new true high speed 4G phones and towers capable of sending and receiving true 1GBps - a term describing various technologies for transmitting Ethernet frames at a rate of a gigabit per second -, Israel is putting on the brakes. This is good news for activists who are attempting to slow down the widespread adoption of this technology. It seems that the message from activists is getting wide recognition.

The cell phone companies are now worried about this negative publicity. Instead of putting up new true high powered 4G towers that could be potentially dangerous, they have decided to rename the existing 3G HSPA wireless network to 4G! This has caused massive confusion for the public that is wanting and waiting to upgrade to the latest and greatest digital wireless device.

Wireless hardware manufacturers are lost in a sea of confusion. Investors are worried about the future.

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M. Elmasry

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